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Editorial: Bright spots amid gloom

Between Texas cities drowning under floodwaters and major investment houses disappearing in a sea of red ink, the headlines hold a lot of gloom and doom these days. Natural disasters and manmade economic debacles spread real pain and suffering and are nothing to trivialize. But we’ve also had some upbeat news in recent days. As you’re fuming about high gas prices and worrying when the next shoe is going to drop in the financial markets, here’s a reminder of some happier headlines of late.
Drought eases:While hurricanes and tropical storms have wreaked havoc along the Gulf of Mexico and other coastal areas, they’ve brought much-needed rain (and some unwanted flooding) across the Carolinas. Only a few weeks ago, we were staring at parched lawns and wondering if we’d ever see steady rains again. Although some western North Carolina counties are still in extreme or severe drought, many other areas have improved. The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor (updated each Thursday) shows that fewer areas of North Carolina are in severe or moderate drought, or abnormally dry. Rowan County’s rainfall is inching up toward normal levels for the year, and we’re now classed as being in moderate drought. Some municipalities, including Concord and Kannapolis, have eased water restrictions. However, state officials warn that groundwater levels are still low, and our relief could be short-lived if rains disappear again. Their advice: Continue to conserve.
It’s fair time: The Rowan County Agricultural and Industrial Fair is back for its 57th run. From the earthy aroma of livestock exhibits to the sweet taste of funnel cakes, the fair offers a feast of experiences. After surviving last year’s turmoil over the fair’s management, the Spencer and Faith Jaycees have put together another great extravaganza. From the bright lights of the midway, the fair may look like it’s all fun and games, but it takes a tremendous amount of work to make the magic happen each year. If you haven’t gone yet, plan a visit before the lights go down late Saturday. It’s the perfect way to leave your worries behind. Think Wall Street is on a wild ride? Check out the Vortex.
Future shapes up: The initial goals are modest, but a new project to combat childhood obesity in Rowan County deserves hearty applause and community support. The “Fit for Motion” program will try to shape up second-graders at three elementary schools through an emphasis on exercise and good nutrition. Rowan Regional Medical Center, the YMCA of Rowan County and Food Lion will work with Rowan-Salisbury Schools to help kids eat healthier and meet weight-loss goals. Childhood obesity is linked to many health problems that can shorten life spans and drive up later health-care costs, so this program’s results can benefit the community as well as participating kids. Let’s hope young waistlines contract, and “Fit for Motion” can be expanded to more schools.

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